Monday, January 26, 2015

Training the Brain!

I have been reminded lately as I’m getting back into the swing of things that the brain is a muscle just like all the others in the body. And just like training muscles takes time and effort to get them to where we want them to be, so does training the brain. The good news is, once the brain is trained, it seems so much easier to maintain or at least for the most part. I know I’m not perfect when it comes to this, and it is a struggle from time to time, but I have myself headed in the right direction and that’s all that counts. 


I like to think about it this way. If you were headed off to school to either become a doctor or a teacher, you’d have to learn different skills to be successful at what you were trying to accomplish. If you’d never been exposed to that type of education, it would be a new territory of learning. Once you got the education though and started on your way, you’d never forget what you learned and in the end, would become very successful at being that doctor/teacher. 
Our brains are the same way when it comes to educating them on what’s best for our bodies. The best thing about it is we were all made individually with special care, so training our brains is a very individual thing. Sure we can get ideas, help, and support from those around us, but in the end, we’ve got to be the one who's running the ship. We are the advocate for our bodies. What works for one person may not work for the next, so learning to train the brain is crucial, especially when you’re trying to lose weight and take on healthy. 
Lately for me, I feel like my brain needs a refresher. I know what to do. I know what works for me. I know how to get it done. It’s a matter of practicing my skills. Just like anything else in life, if we stop doing something we’ve trained our brains to do, even if we know it well, we tend to get a little rusty. That’s why doctors/teachers are required to do different re-certifications along the way during their career, to make sure they still have their brain trained in the right materials. I feel health is no different. If you're going to be successful in creating the best YOU, you need to have a good trained brain. 
Here are a few things that have helped me along the way: 
Establish a routine – Make it a habit. Write it down if you need to for a while. 
Find foods you enjoy – What works for you is what you should eat. Not what your friends tell you you should and shouldn’t eat. Try new things. Branch out. There are so many yummy options.
Make exercise something you look forward too – This is a big one for me. I know I’ll have to exercise the rest of my life to maintain healthy, so I want it to be something I not only like, but love. 
Share and Tell – It makes it so much easier when the people who you are closest to, and in some cases, not closest to, know you are trying to change. It’s then not a secret but a lifestyle. They also provide a source of strength and accountability that is extremely helpful. 
Make it fun - Because being healthy is a lifelong adventure, making it fun and something you enjoy is crucial. If that means getting involved, meeting new people who are on the same journey etc, DO IT! It will mean something and you will be a strength to others just as they are to you. 

Like I mentioned earlier - Lately for me I feel like I am re-training my brain on some things. I tend to be hard on myself and need to remember that it was one day at a time that got me to where I am today. Not every day is going to be easy. Not every day was easy. In fact, maybe not every week. But when I look at the list of things above and the picture below, I am reminded that by small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.


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Monday, January 12, 2015

5 Years...Maintenance...And So it Continues....

Now that we're two solid weeks into the new year, I feel like the hustle and bustle of the holidays have passed and I'm starting to settle in to somewhat of a routine again, and believe me, it feels SO good! Is it always a cakewalk? No way! I definitely have by bad days, but going forward the best I know how and finding ways to enjoy the journey along the way, is top priority. 

This past week was my five-year anniversary, if you want to call it, of when I hit my goal weight and committed to remain healthy. Along with maintenance comes its challenges. In fact, to be frankly honest, I think the maintenance part is much, much harder than I thought it was going to be. In some ways, it's even harder than the 14 months it took me to lose the weight. Might sound crazy, but true story. My weight has fluctuated from time to time over the past 5 years since hitting my goal. Sometimes more than I'd like, but the good news is, I always know when it's time to stop the unnecessary and get back to business before things have gotten out of control. Usually, for me, it's because I've become lazy about tracking my food or not getting to the gym when I need too or just plain not doing what I know I need to do to maintain. Yep, life happens. 
Food is an addiction. I believe this is true for people who not only have weight problems, but for people who are healthy too. I know when I was 278 pounds, not only did I think of food often, I chose to consume food in the wrong way. And even now, 5 years later, in a body half my size, I still think of food often, but in a different way. I'm addicted to thinking about fueling my body for the good. I'm addicted to making this body that was a gift, the healthiest I know how. In some ways, I think when we are struggling with food addictions that have caused us to spiral out of control and get to places that cause us unhappiness, can be far more challenging than other addictive behaviors, like drugs, alcohol, video gaming, etc. Again, this is just my own personal opinion and it's not meant to offend anyone. The way I see it, with action, support groups, maybe counseling, and a desire to not consume or participate in those things anymore, people are successful. The problem with food addictions is, we can't just say we're never going to eat again. That thought alone makes this whole idea of our journey all that more challenging and in my eyes. 

For me personally in regards to maintenance, it's a matter of finding my happy place and staying as close to that as possible. Is that going to be beach body skinny minnie? Most likely not. It's not going to be any specific number on the scale but just a range in which I call "happy and healthy" for me. The problem and reality is, I like food. I always will. Hello...I was nearly 300 pounds! I want to still be able to enjoy food and treats as I continue on my journey. If that means sacrificing the idea that I'll never be a stick figure, I'm okay with that. All I want most of all is healthy and happy. I think that will tend to be my gauge more than the number on the scale in the months and years to come. 

Whether you are at the beginning of your journey, in maintenance, or somewhere in between, I commend you. I know it's not easy. I've been there. I am there! But the good news is we're not alone. Here's to wonderful things in 2015!

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year = New Perspective

I've been asking myself over the past couple weeks what it is about New Years Resolutions that I don't like. Seems like I've always professed I don't like them. I wanted to know why. They sound great. They sound motivating and inspiring.  Then it occurred to me that the reason I don't think I've ever been one for New Years Resolutions, is the idea of failure. I had failed so many times in my life in years past at the beginning of the new year when I committed to lose weight, be healthier, etc.  Then by March or April, I'd fallen off the bandwagon and back into my old ways and the weight was either still there or more had crept on. I guess that part of things has been overlooked the past several years when New Years has come and gone and I just still had the mindset of disliking goals for the reason of years prior of failure. When I began this weight loss journey it was not in January. It was in March. It wasn't New Years. It wasn't a time of year where everyone was setting goals and trying to make a change. This was different. And if you've read my blog from the beginning, you'll read that I didn't even know what my goals were in the beginning of this journey. I had no clue what to think or expect, as I was treading on new ground and was unsure in many ways of what I was capable of. The good news is that I made it to my goal. It took time, hard work, discipline, and motivation, but I got there. One day at at time. It was the first time in my life, I'd set a health-related goal and was successful. And not in a little way, but a big way. 

So, with that on my mind these past couple weeks, I've warmed up to the idea of goals. Resolutions. Dreams. Why not? I know now that I have what it takes mentally and physically to get me anywhere on the map. I can't say I've always been that way, no way. But I am now, so why not goal it up! As I've contemplated the idea of a few goals, it's gotten me excited again about health -- something to work towards, something to dream about. I feel like with the bit of a slump I've been in since summer break, the move etc. this is just what I'm needing to push forward and gain back the feeling I had felt before when I was in what felt like my best shape. 

So here are a few things I will be working on in 2015...GOALS....RESOLUTIONS!

* I plan to get back to resistance training several days a week. Since summer, it has been very hit and miss and I have had no real plan of attack when I get there. Just whatever sounded good and got the job done. I plan to be very disciplined in getting a thought out, planned, and on paper type workout in when I am there and push myself to get stronger and leaner in the process. 

*  I have continued to run, which as you've known has not always been a favorite of mine, but for some reason I keep going back. I don't know why. I like how it makes me feel when it's over. It's something I'd never been able to say I could do before.  Now I can. It's one of the few cardio exercises that can make me drip with sweat, and believe it or not, I like that feeling. Since I recently got a FitBit, I've ditched the Garmin. Now the FitBit will tell me distance and calories burned and that seems to be all I need to like running that much more. I have found that ditching my watch and not caring about my pace and time has made me a whole new runner. I'm enjoying it. I'm looking forward to it. I just head out and go, and I sync my phone when I'm done to see how far I went. It's perfect for me right now. Will I always be that way? Probably not. I'll need to graduate back to my Garmin at some point, but for now, I needed something very simple and non stressing, to help me fall in love with the exercise that seems to give me the most success as far as cardio. 

* In May, I'm planning to head to Indiana for a weekend to run the Indy Mini 500 Half Marathon with my Ragnar team, Strangers to Solemates. It's going to be a reunion of sorts for us and I'm super excited. I would love to be leaner and more fit than I was when they all met me for the first time last April. It's not a must, but it's motivating, and I will work my hardest to get there. From there, I will continue on my journey and move forward setting new short-term goals to keep me motivated and uplifted. 

*I'd love to sign up for more races. Basically, I run my traditional Seattle Half-Marathon every year, and then I've done a couple other local races and a Ragnar. I wouldn't mind stepping out of my comfort zone and trying a few more. Not to mention, they're always so fun!

With a New Year, it always brings the idea of change. A fresh start. A new beginning. Whatever it is you're striving to better or change or make a priority in the coming year, I pray is a success. It started with a thought. Now, act on it, have the faith, and press on. It won't be easy. I'm sure I'm going to have my share of days that are a struggle, but just keep telling yourself, you can do anything you put your mind to. You have the power to change you! Happy 2015! 


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Surviving the Holidays!

We had our first family gathering of the season this past Sunday evening at our house. It was actually not a Christmas gathering per say but a family birthday party for the December birthdays. The theme was "Summer" so we all wore summer clothes, had BBQ hamburgers (Yes, and it was a downpour. Thank you to the hubby for standing out back getting soaked while he grilled.), pasta salad, potato salad, and all the fixings that go along with a summer picnic. Oh, and shall I mention the strawberry shortcakes and any type of ice cream float imaginable for dessert. It was in that moment that I felt my mind want to run away from me and start playing all sorts of tricks about what I was getting myself into as far as my food choices, not to mention knowing this was the week of Christmas and New Years and things would only get worse not better in the scheme of food choice intake. 

We are creatures of habit, some more than others, but for me, if you've read my blog long enough, you know I thrive on routine and structure. In fact, things don't go so well in my brain when unforeseen things come up (I need to work on that, I know). My entire weight loss journey and everything I've become has been based on learning new strategies, finding things I enjoy, and making those things become healthy habits in my life. Learning to get myself through the holidays or any other time (vacation, special occasion, etc.) should be no different. 

When I was out on a run this morning I was thinking a lot about this and the one thing that I was reminded of was that I AM IN CONTROL. I am in control of what choices I make. I am in control of who I have become. No food or event can take that away from me unless I decide to let it. And knowing that I am not perfect and sometimes slip, sometimes more than I'd like, I am prepared for the consequences that follow and know what needs to be done to get back on track. Not that I have any intention of going there this holiday season. I just like to know ahead of time in my brain that I've worked out all the details. 

The attitude I personally have taken for the holiday season is to maintain and not gain. Now, that doesn't mean, beat myself up over the 9 pounds I mentioned a few blog posts ago that I am trying to get back off. It means from that point on...to maintain for now. I want to enjoy the holidays and not be so worried about losing but focus also on not gaining. Here are a few things I worked through today on my run that I plan to do and thought I would share.

- Don't fixate on the foods you shouldn't eat. Eat them, just in moderation. In fact, take everything you want, small amounts, and then be proud of yourself for sticking to your plan. 

-Drink plenty of water. Water for me is a filler and it sure does help. Oftentimes I add my flavor I use when going to the gym and it's a liquid treat in and of itself. (Lately I'm hooked on mango!) 

- Exercise EVERY DAY. Even if you don't feel like much, or it's a rest day, a walk is better than nothing. Especially during the holidays when consuming calories adds up quickly. 

- If you're headed to a function, don't arrive famished. It's better to get a head start at home and fill up on something safe before having a few treats at the party. 

- Use a smaller plate when you have the option. 

- Share with a friend. If it helps to be able to talk with someone about your "holiday helps," go for it. Sometimes just be accountable to someone is all it takes. 

- Be positive. Positive self affirmations. At the end of each day, write down the things you did well, as far as food choices and exercise. Did I stay within the boundaries I'd set for myself etc? 

- Most of all, enjoy the spirit of the season! Don't let your mind sabatoge your reason for enjoying the holidays.  

I pray each one of you have a blessed holiday season. I know in looking at my own life, I have so much to be grateful for, my health being a huge part of that. Thank you for your continued support. See you in 2015! 




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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Now is the Time

I've been wanting to blog about this topic for well over a month now but I wasn't sure how or what I would say. I still am not sure exactly what I'm trying to voice but I'm wanting to give it a shot. This has no intention of offending anyone or your personal situation.  These are just my thoughts. Like I've said numerous times before, I blog mainly for myself and to hold myself accountable but if my entries bless others along the way, that makes me just as happy.

I had been out of the gym for a brief time while dealing with our move.  When I started back to getting serious about my fitness schedule again, I learned that a dear friend of our family (young mother of 2) was diagnosed with Leukemia and immediately put in the hospital in isolation for a month while they started rigorous chemo and various cancer treatments. Her life was taken over in that very moment, on that Sunday morning, by doctors and nurses and people who knew what she needed in order to fight the rough road ahead. She had no choice. She had to step away from everything normal, including living at home with her husband and young boys, being a mom, and everything that her fairytale consisted of up until now . She had to take a step forward in faith, praying for a miracle. My heart ached. I cried.  But she went forward with such courage and an amazing outlook which really touched me in a special way. 

I got to thinking about health and how many of us struggle with either weightloss, body imagine, getting healthy, or whatever it may be. For some it can be very debilitating, scary, and I'm sure causes great amounts of stress and even depression for some. But then I am reminded that even as scary as the road may look, and at different times on our journeys we're not quite sure we have it in us to move forward or how we're going to get there, we have not been the one diagnosed with an illness such as Leukemia and had our lives temporarily taken away and at the will of doctors and hospitals. It motivates me. Doesn't it motivate you? 

If you have the power to get healthy and be healthy, why wouldn't you? For the past 4 years I have been a huge advocate in helping myself take on a new lifestyle, but just the thought of knowing so many people out there like my dear friend who struggle with illness, some even terminal, and the fact that they don't have that choice at the moment to get healthy and fit in the same way that you and I are aiming for, makes me want to shake the world and tell everyone to count your blessings and be grateful for what you have in the moment because you never know what curve ball may be thrown your way. Bottom line is this...If you're in a spot where you feel like you've been wanting to change. CHANGE. If you feel like you've been at a stand still and the weight isn't budging, MOVE FORWARD. If you feel like you can't do it alone. GET HELP. 

There are so many times where we get caught up in somewhat of a pity party, myself included. "I can't seem to lose the weight. I've tried everything. My body was made this way. I'll start tomorrow. I have no motivation. I'm not disciplined enough. And the list goes on.....but really I'm learning we really need to ask ourselves: How can we get there? What tools do we need to be successful? Who can we help along the way? And most of all, be grateful for healthy bodies, even if they need some work and fine tuning. 

I just want to close by letting you know that my dear friend that I was telling you about is actually a certified trainer. She believes in healthy. She believes in taking care of YOU. If she could, she would be on a hike today exploring some new adventure and taking in all that God has created on top of a mountain somewhere.  If you're not ready to commit to yourself, commit to someone else. Someone who is going through a trial and has temporarily been restricted from the kinds of things you and I get to do.  Do it in their honor. Serve them in a way that will not only make a difference in your life but will bless them too.  I know it would make my friend's heart happy to have anyone out there that is struggling at this moment with either body image, weight loss, exercise, or changing their life around for the better, to just do it! Step out of the box. Have faith. Whether it's for the first time or whether you're needing to get recommitted.  Life is too fragile to wait for the perfect moment or a better time. Now is the time. 


Thank you Elena for blessing me so and giving me new perspective on life. You have made me a better me in the last 6 weeks. Thank you. It won't be long and we will take the guys and hike to a mountaintop together again. You're a fighter and your faith on this journey so far is nothing but inspiring. Bless you. 

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Onward and Upward....

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the leftovers are either eaten or thrown away, it’s time to get my brain back on track. The good news is it usually only takes me a day or two of being out of sync with my eating to help me crave getting back to a healthy lifestyle again. One of the perks I guess of spending the last few years retraining my body and brain on what healthy is all about.


I was excited to start my week and get back into my normal. Like I said in my post just prior to Thanksgiving, I have been somewhat out of sync for some time now with moving, remodeling, and getting settled in our new house. I made a plan of attack this weekend. I am craving “normal” but also know with the holidays around the corner, I am human and certainly not perfect and am bound to eat naughty on occasion. Regardless, getting my mind back on track is what’s most important and is what’s going to bring me the most success. It is so easy to get into a cycle of thoughts that spin you out of control when times like the holidays come and go. For me, it’s remembering that I’m not on a “diet”  but choosing to eat and live healthy is what motivates me to keep going forward. I remind myself that it’s the small decisions I make every day that are going to make the difference, not the week I took off to eat what I wanted over Thanksgiving break. 
These are a few of the things I reminded myself before I went to bed last night and that seem to bring me great comfort in times when I feel like I need it most. 
Take each day as it comes. 
Don’t dwell on the naughty things I ate but celebrate the fact that I was able to eat them. 
Don’t think of the things I haven’t been doing (like getting to the gym) but write down all the things I HAVE been doing (spending time with family, etc).
Reflect on how far I’ve come and even with a 9 pound disadvantage at the present moment, I am no where near what I was just 4 ½ years ago. 
Enjoy each day. Whether I messed up with eating or exercise, enjoy the moment and the day I am currently living. 
I’m learning to be grateful for the curve balls that have come and gone on this journey I call maintenance. I knew when I signed up for this challenge that it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s not supposed to be. I’ve had to work hard to become who I am and I don't believe health and happiness are suppose to come easily. We have to work at it. Just like anything else in life. This time of year was a good reminder of how grateful I am for a healthy body, that with a little training and positive self-talk has become something that has allowed me to do things in life I never dreamed or imagined. Life is good!


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Out of Sync and Celebrating!

It has been so long since I have had the time to sit down and dedicate a few minutes to my blog and express my thoughts and where I am at with things. First off, I should probably explain that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth as some have written and asked. Honestly, my life has been  full of changes and challenges. Now that things are finally settling down again, I'm finding that I need that quiet time, that reassurance that comes from sitting down and expressing my thoughts about health, weight loss, and my journey. It's something that I always enjoy, and it brings me peace and allows me to not only reflect on where I've been, but also allows me move forward and experience the joys and also the struggles that come from being a former fatty. 

To bring you up to speed, my husband and I decided to put our house on the market in August. We honestly had no idea if it was the right timing to sell or not as the market has been hit and miss for so long now. Anyway, the house sold in 3 days. Because of the timing of things we had nothing lined up or hadn't even begun looking for a new house. We spent the next several weeks toying around with the idea of building or buying. We finally settled on an existing home, spent 6 weeks doing some remodel, and after staying 6 weeks with family and living 14 years in our old house, moved into our new place. We've been here 3 weeks now and it already feels like home. Is it crazy to say that I haven't been in my old house since the end of September and I have yet to miss it? 


Because of the way my life has been the past 12-14 weeks with everything going on and working on the house day in and day out, getting to the gym has been non-existant. I know.  It's bad and I can feel it and see it. I did manage to run a couple times a week while staying at my parents house, along with doing a half marathon the end of October but that wasn't enough to keep me on track.


 
Because all of us are different and we require different things to get us to our fitness goals, just doing cardio doesn't cut it for me. My body needs that resistance training more than anything. I actually got on the scale and I am 9 pounds above where I call "my happy place." This is the place where I feel the most fit, the most healthy. My clothes still fit, just tighter than I want them. I am learning that as we go through trials or big changes in our lives, there are going to be set-backs. In some ways, even though I don't like it, I think this is good for me. Both mentally and physically. It's going to make me work hard at a new aspect of this journey we call maintenance and keep trudging forward.

Being out of sync can be debilitating. I can see that now. But it's how we put things into action and press forward that's going to mold us and create a new fire to get us back to our "happy place." Here's to getting myself back to that very place and using my blog as a way to journal my thoughts and allow you a tour of the journey. 

Oh yes, and don't you love how I posted this 2 days before Thanksgiving? Ha! I'm going to try not to be too naughty when it comes to my food choices but then again it's Thanksgiving. Yep, I'm eating naughty. ALL DAY! 

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Month out of the Gym Re-Cap!

Remember a month or so ago when I mentioned that Jacob my trainer was kicking me out of the gym for a month? Well, I am here to let you know, I survived! Now, for some, I know they may have taken that as a huge sign to relax and not do much of anything, but for me, it drove me crazy. It was so hard. At first I wasn't sure how I was going to get through it mentally, being out of the gym that is.  Each day got a little easier, and even though I wasn't in the gym lifting weights like my body was used to doing, I challenged myself and tried new things along the way. I looked for new ideas and things to keep me active. 

I started my month break on a trip to Arizona in the middle of June (yes, I know...crazy HOT)! I was a little concerned on what I was going to do as I wasn't sure the set up of the hotel, and I knew anything outside in the ways of exercise was going to be way too hot (heat and I don't get along when it comes to exercise). Luckily our hotel had a great pool and a workout room that had an exercise bike, so I was able to make do. In fact, if you are planning to go outside in Arizona, you do it early in the morning. We went on a family hike at 6:00am the day after we got there. It wasn't altogether a hike in regards to what I am used to, so I decided upon returning to the hotel, to swim laps in the pool and then ride the bike in the exercise room. Sorta created my own mini triathlon of sorts. It was fun and again, something new.

My month continued with various hikes, biking, and hitting the pool that is located at one of the other satellite gyms affiliated with my gym. I've always known swimming was a full body workout, but I wasn't sure at first if I was going to get the same kind of satisfaction I do from other cardio as I would be wet and in the water, instead of sweating along the way. It took one time in the pool of swimming laps for 35 minutes to realize the next morning that my upper body was sore. It felt great. Not only that, as the days went on, I found myself enjoying the pool more and more. In fact, it's not something I will be able to fit into my schedule during the week when school starts up again and I am back at work full time, but I am hoping to occasionally hit the pool for some laps on a weekend when I have more time. 

As much as I didn't want to give this "month off" from lifting weights a whirl, I'm glad I did. I learned new things, tried new things, and challenged myself in ways I wouldn't have done otherwise. Like I said the other day, exercise has become part of my natural habitat. I can't go for more than a day without it. I crave it. Not in an obsessive way, but a healthy way. I love the feeling of being healthy! 

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Inspiring Others

Did you know that even if you are in the beginning phases of your journey or if you are new to getting healthy, you're going to be an inspiration to others?  Did you notice how I didn't say you "You can be in an inspiration" but a "You will be an inspiration." I've learned it's just one of the parts about this whole thing that has blessed me and continues to bless my life. 

When I first starting blogging about my journey it was something I chose to do to go back and relive some of those experiences, thoughts, and feelings as I hadn't documented along the way and felt like I hadn't enjoyed the process. I needed to be in the trenches again so I could feel the emotions of it and in the end have it help me continue to be successful.

I learned that even from the start I had people cheering me on and reminding me how strong I was. As the weight trickled off, little by little, I realized that even though I was far from where I wanted to be, my actions and motivation for taking on the project of "finding the new me" was inspiring others. It really was a hard concept to grasp and even now from time to time I tend to struggle with the idea. I mean, living as heavy as I was for as long as I did, clearly is not inspiring to people seeking after a healthier lifestyle. So, to change gears and train my brain to think differently was a real eye opener. 

Just a couple weeks ago I was able to meet one of the gals who reads my blog for lunch. She had contacted me several months ago and we have corresponded some, so while my husband and I were traveling I was able to make the time to visit with her. What a treat! It really was a special thing to sit down and talk with virtually, a total stranger and just listen and learn of how much my story has blessed her life.  I love more than anything the feeling of paying-it-forward. I hadn't done anything special or out of the norm to have brought us together other than sharing my story, my struggles, and keeping it real. And even though I am not a professional when it comes to fitness and health, we were able to bounce ideas off each other and I was able to share with her tips and things that worked for me during various parts of my journey. I remember getting in my car afterwards and as I drove away felt so overwhelmed with joy. Joy that something that brought me years of struggle and disappointment, had now brought me peace, happiness, and more importantly, a new friend. 

So with that, meet my new friend Teresa....


Never underestimate the power you have to influence someone else regardless of where you are in your journey. I'm not indicating everyone needs to write a blog.  It can mean even keeping a journal or sharing your thoughts and progression with a small network of people. When more people know about what is going on and can be a support to you, the more you will naturally inspire them and together it can be key to your success. 

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Overcoming the Fear

This is a topic that I think we all can relate to in one way or another, whether it has to do with living a healthy lifestyle of weight loss and being successful at it or something as simple as being afraid of heights. I'm only mentioning these two because they both have either been a part of my life in the past or are still somewhat of a fear I am currently dealing with. 

When I first even had the inclination that I wanted to try to get healthy and lose some of the weight I was carrying around, I had no idea what that would look like. I was scared my body wouldn't respond. I was scared of the unknown. I didn't know what to do or even how to do it, and I was even scared with the thought that I wouldn't be able to stick with it. Like I said, I had no clear picture of anything that lied ahead and when I thought of my body looking different and being lighter, my brain when to mush. It was fear. What is the opposite of fear? Faith. I had no faith in myself that I could become better. (Just typing that out makes me sad.)
(I had already lost 40 pounds when this picture was taken.)

 When did that change? It was baby steps. The more I saw a little bit of progress, the more I believed in myself. Instead of jumping my thoughts way ahead to the end and what I hoped things were going to be like, I kept it small. I kept it real. Looking ahead, believing with faith that I was going to reach my next goal, whatever it may be. The more faith I deposited into my baby steps, the more I trusted in God to help me, the further I went, eventually reaching my goals. Kinda like a bank account. The more deposits of faith and "I can do this" statements I added to my account, the better off I was going to be, especially when hit with a rough patch or a plateau. In the end, I had trained my brain to believe I could do anything I put my mind to. 
I tell you this because just this last week, I started to work on yet another fear of mine - heights! I know, sounds crazy coming from the girl who loves to hike mountains, but it's true. I guess I am used to hiking mountains in Washington, where things are lush and green and trees everywhere and you really don't realize you are going up until you reach the top and have a beautiful view of the world below. Not to mention, there are usually plenty of surroundings on each side of you to make you feel safe, even when at the top. This past week our kids were gone at a church retreat for the week so my husband and I decided to do some hiking. He's a big-time backpacker, hiker and loves the outdoors. We decided to hike up Mt. Timpanogos. It's in Utah between Salt Lake City and Provo, about 6 hours from where we live. We had heard many wonderful things about this hike so we were excited to make the trip. The trail itself is beautiful. 
Very well traveled, lots of flowers, waterfalls, wild mountain goats, and things to see on the way up. I was in heaven.










Once we hit an open meadow area, there weren't many trees anymore and nothing but the tip of the mountain way off in the distance. 
(We had already hiked 4 miles by the time we reached the meadow. Up to the right is the "saddle" then you hike up and around the back to get to the top. It was another good 3.5 miles.)

From there is when I started to get uneasy. We had to cross over a few snowfields that were not exactly flat, so no falling or slipping was allowed. 
Then once we got up to what was called the saddle of the mountain, that is where I was pretty sure I wasn't going any further. Literally, a small narrow trail that dropped straight off the mountian. No gradual decline down the side just a straight drop.
(This was taken up on the saddle with the meadow down below to the left.)


(This would be what the trail looks like most of the time getting up the rest of the way. Yep, like I said...straight down! No edge of any kind.)

I kept thinking to myself, "And they say people don't die on this mountain? They say Timp is very safe to hike?" I couldn't believe it! I hiked up to camp Muir on Mt. Rainier last year and this had no comparison. Rainier was a piece of cake compared to this.
(This was the view from the saddle with still 3 miles to climb.)

We took a break for a few minutes and then Steve was very sweet about asking me how I felt and if I wanted to go on. He said he would be fine if we turned back if that is what I wanted to do. In some ways I was done, but in other ways I wanted to get to the top. I came this far, I wanted to make it. It was one of those moments where I sat there on that mountain filled with emotion that my body was even capable of getting as far as it did. It wouldn't have even been able to barely leave the parking lot a few years ago. I then had the thought of fear and what I had to do to overcome the fear of being successful on my weight loss journey. Baby steps came into my head. I was going to take baby steps to the top. Or at least give it a try. I had decided even if I got part of the way, it was a start, and I would feel much better about trying and having faith, rather than giving up and running from fear. Needless to say we made it to the top, little by little, scaling the side of the mountain at a couple points where rocks fell for miles below.

(This is for real folks! Scaling the side of the mountain at a few spots. I was not smiling by the way. I think I was moaning or something.)

I even announced I was done more than once but then something in me wanted to keep going. I was shaking, I was nervous, all the things that were probably not a good combination when climbing up the side of a mountain that had nothing but drop-offs and the city below to catch me. Steve even had to slow down as the altitude was giving him a headache.  I'll never forget the feeling of accomplishment when reaching the little white shack that sits on the top of the mountain.
 I felt like I was on top of the world and could do anything I put my mind and heart to. Whether it was losing weight and getting healthy or climbing 15 scary miles over a 10 hour period, I was reminded again that I am capable of anything.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rock n Roll - 1/2 Marathon Race Re-Cap!



 There is something I have loved about coming home to Seattle every summer for the past 4 years to run the Seattle Rock n Roll, but for some reason, this year it was like icing on the cake. Icing on the cake of who I have become. 

I really didn't have any goals for myself for this race other than to enjoy it and to have fun. In the past when I train, there has always seemed to be a level of anxiety that fills my body. It usually starts months ahead when I look at the training schedule and anticipate all I need to do in order to be ready for the big day. Then I study the long runs and their increase in mileage by the week, which causes more anxiety. In a nut shell, it always has felt great to complete the race, but the process to get me there hasn't always been my favorite. 

This time I decided to go about things a little differently. I had just gotten done with Ragnar SoCal in April so I was still in my routine of running. I decided that this time around for the Rock n Roll I wasn't going to follow any certain training plan. I was just going to plan to run 3 shorter runs during the week with a long run on Saturday. I liked the idea of not being tied to a schedule per say. Part of that for me I think comes from the fact that I am such a rule follower. If I didn't follow my schedule to a tee, I would get cranky and frustrated, even like I was feeling behind. Having no schedule other than to get the runs in I have learned is a much better option for me. Not only that, because I wasn't stressing about how many miles I needed to get in or the run I missed yesterday and trying to make it up somewhere along the way, I was able to learn to love what I was doing. Learn to love running. Finally!

It was a beautiful day on Saturday in Seattle. We couldn't have asked for better weather. We got up at five and headed out the door so we could be downtown by 6:00 to catch the monorail to the Seattle Center. We arrived with plenty of time to get situated, check our bags, wait in line for the restrooms, and get to our coral. I had eaten a piece of bread with peanut butter and a half of a banana before leaving the house. I was hoping it was enough time to get it settled before we got started because my stomach is ultra sensitive when I'm running. In fact, I have to run on minimal water and fuel. I know, not always the best idea, but I have found a few things that work for me, so I stick with the basics and press on. 

Once our coral crossed the starting line we were off. My best friend Tammy and I have run this race together every year. She is quite the runner and could out run me any day but this is one of those runs we have always just done together. She was a huge part of my support team on the journey to a healthier me, so I love that she comes and does this with me every year. Better yet, she runs along side me the whole way. 




As we headed down the streets of Seattle I marveled at the large buildings and the beauty of the city I was raised in. That is one thing I love about this race. The course is absolutely perfect. You get city, waterfront, Mt. Rainier, Puget Sound, Safeco Field, Space Needle, and so many other sites. We were running a fairly decent pace the first few miles. I felt great. In fact, we were passing people! For me this is the first. I'm usually the one people are passing by left and right. I think at one point I had thought I didn't know how long I'd be able to keep that pace, but then I didn't think about it and kept going. The miles continued to pass and we kept on going, passing people along the way. There is a point on this run where you have to run a mile through a tunnel and I don't do tunnels, so I'm sure I slowed down a bit but not much. At mile eleven we were running up what's called the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The views of the Sound are wonderful. We even stopped for a selfie! Speaking of selfies, this was the first race I was able to take my phone on now that I bought a flip belt. (Best invention ever. I don't even feel it on me and I am super picky about carrying extra things on a run.) It was fun to be able to snap a few pictures here and there along the way.



About the time we were at mile eleven, I glanced at my watch. I knew that I would be finishing the race nearly 30 minutes faster than last year as I had some cramping and had to walk a bit last year. Then I then realized that it was possible for me to get a PR. I had pretty much written the idea of this off long ago as they had changed the course from the first two years we ran it. Back then it was much flatter with only a few hills. Now, for the past two years, it has been rather hilly with a doozy at the end. I never imagined I could beat my first time of 02:14 and some change. As we kept running I started picking up speed as in my mind I decided I was going to go for it. I wasn't sure what Tammy was thinking at this point as she was weaving in and out of people like I was, nearly on the opposite side of the road. I saw another tunnel up ahead and started to panic a bit but decided I was going to push through it and run faster. I thought, "The faster I run, the faster I get through this tunnel." We ran a short distance more before rounding the corner to the chute. Mind you, it is a huge hill that climbs for what seems like FOREVER! People cheering you on left and right but it still doesn't seem to help. It was at that point that people where passing us for the first time. I almost felt silly but seriously, I couldn't make my legs go any faster up that hill. I finished 13.1 with a time of 02:13:32. It was the fastest half I had ever run! I felt great. Aside from the hill at the end, I honestly could have kept going.

The human body amazes me! When we fuel it and take care of it in the right way, it will perform the way we want it to. I am grateful for the knowledge and the things I have learned over the past several years and what exactly my body can do for me. Instead of being something I dread, something that weighs me down, it has become a machine of nothing but goodness. It has shaped me to who I am today and has opened a whole new way of life to be 
enjoyed that I never knew existed. Life is good! 



P.S. After the run, it has become our tradition to have a girls weekend and head to the coast for a couple days to relax and recoup after a season of training and running. It's nice to just not be on a schedule, walk the beach, shop, hike a trail or two, and eat as much naughty food as we want. Here are a few pictures from that part of the trip. 

Ever since my foot surgery a few years back, my feet love the sand after a long race. The beach makes for a perfect stop on the way home.


Yep, Tammy's sister-in-law made us the BEST CAKE ever to eat after the race!

Don't ask! I have no idea...

P.P.S.....I have a mentioned this was the best race ever? 

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